The great assemblage that I see around me; the simple but interesting ceremonial with which the flag of our country has been thrown to the breeze; the strains of inspiring music; the sweet concord of those youthful voices; the solemn supplication of the reverend clergyman, which still fills our ears,—all these proclaim the deep, patriotic sentiment of which the flag is the symbol and expression. Nay, more: it speaks for itself. Its mute eloquence needs no aid from my lips to interpret its significance. Fidelity to the Union blazes from its stars: allegiance to the Government under which we live is wrapped within its folds. We set up this standard, my friends, not as a matter of idle display, but as an expressive indication, that, in the mighty struggle which has been forced upon us, we are of one heart and one mind,—that the Government of the country must be sustained. We are a law-abiding, quiet-loving community. Our time, our thoughts, our energies are habitually devoted to the peaceful arts by which States grow and prosper; but, upon an issue in which the life of the country is involved, we rally as one man to its defence. All former differences of opinion are swept away. We forget that we ever had been partisans. We remember only that we are Americans, and that our country is in peril. . . . Why does it float as never before, not merely from arsenal and masthead, but from tower and steeple, from the public edifices, the temples of science, the private dwelling, in magnificent display or miniature presentment? Let Fort Sumter give the answer. When on this day fortnight, the 13th of April (a day for ever to be held in inauspicious remembrance, like the Dies Alliensis in the annals of Rome), the tidings spread through the land, that the standard of United America, the pledge of her union and the symbol of her power, which so many gallant hearts had poured out their life-blood on the ocean and the land to uphold, had, in the harbor of Charleston, been for a day and a half the target of eleven fratricidal batteries, one deep, unanimous, spontaneous feeling shot with the tidings through the bosoms of twenty millions of freemen,—that its outraged honor must be vindicated.Mr. Everett then described the bombardment of Sumter, and paid a high tribute to Major Anderson and his gallant command. He also referred to his long and intimate acquaintance with the leading men of the South, from whom he had hoped never to have been separated by civil war. He closed with these words:—
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